Monday, July 25, 2011

Summery fresh: Corn chowder

Alright, I can understand why you might think that corn chowder isn't really a summery dish. I mean, with the temperature being in the triple digits right now, I'm not sure myself if I want to dig into anything warmer than a nice cool salad. But then, I get to work, where they keep the thermostat at an almost unbearable 60 degrees, and all I can think about is hot soup and tea. Besides, corn is about as quintessentially summer as you can get and my CSA sure delivers a lot of it. The best thing about this chowder (which I came up with all by myself) is that it only takes 30 minutes and yet still manages to be delicious and flavorful. The key? Farm fresh ingredients, herbs from my own patio garden and  a bit of chicken stock.

30-minute Corn Chowder
3 slices of bacon, diced
4 ears worth of corn
5-6 red potatoes, skin-on and diced
3-4 cloves of garlic
About 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
About 1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
About 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsely
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (1 bouillon cube dissolved in 1 1/2 cups hot water)
1 cup soy milk
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded cheddar cheese

  • Dice up bacon and put in a preheated pan. Remove the cooked bacon and some of the grease (I do this to decrease some of the overall fat in the soup).
  • Add the corn, potatoes and garlic to the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once the potatoes are lightly browned, add the stock. Bring it to a boil. 
  • Turn the heat down. Add the fresh herbs, cayenne pepper and soy milk. Simmer until it's reached your desired consistency. Stir often so the soy milk doesn't scald. 
This dish is not only super easy to make, it uses very few ingredients, and most of them tend to be sitting around your house anyway. On a sidenote, if you don't have fresh herbs I suggest growing an herb garden! Just kidding, that's not necessary. But just remember that when subbing dried herbs for fresh ones, decrease the amount by half. In this case I'd do a teaspoon each of oregano and parsley and two teaspoons of rosemary. Why? Parsley and oregano tend to be superstrong when dried. Rosemary is slightly weaker and you'll need extra so it's not overshadowed. Also, make sure you get crushed rosemary. It is very difficult to chop dried rosemary and the herbs won't be in the dish long enough to soften. And no one likes getting a huge chunk of chewy rosemary in their chowder!

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